Timber Home Living - - Special Design Section -

When the weather out­side is fright­ful, the most im­por­tant thing is to have a strong struc­ture around you, es­pe­cially if you’re build­ing a home in one of the coun­try’s chill­ier cli­mates. Here we share five build­ing tips to keep your home warm and won­der­ful year round.


Lo­cal build­ing codes will dic­tate how much snow load your new roof can safely sup­port. This can vary from more than 130 pounds per square foot in some moun­tain­ous re­gions to up to 360 pounds in ex­treme con­di­tions. Hir­ing a struc­tural en­gi­neer (or work­ing with the en­gi­neer at your tim­ber home com­pany) will en­sure you build­ing a house that can han­dle the stress.


To cre­ate flex­i­ble out­door liv­ing spa­ces — and min­i­mize your home’s main­te­nance re­quire­ments — con­sider cov­ered porches, decks and bal­conies to pro­tect you and your home’s ex­te­rior tim­bers from the el­e­ments. To fur­ther pro­tect ex­te­rior wood from driv­ing, rain, snow bl­iz­zards and sun dam­age, in­clude larger eaves or overhangs in your roof de­sign.


A me­tal stand­ing-seam roof with a sim­ple, steep pitch will help snow slide off eas­ily. Also con­sider in­stalling a snow guard — an 8- to 12-inch fence set back from the edge of the roof that pre­vents the snow from fall­ing in lethal chunks. To keep the melted snow from pool­ing at the foun­da­tion of your home, make sure your de­sign team and builder slope walk­ways and drive­ways away from the house.


The longer your drive­way, the more costly snow re­moval will be — ei­ther in dol­lars or in back­aches. So you may opt to site your home closer to the road. Choose a drive­way de­sign that in­cludes an area to put snow af­ter plow­ing, as well as guest park­ing spa­ces. Also plan for plenty of land­scape, walk­way and porch light­ing fix­tures to pre­vent slips and falls.


Cold nights and a warm fire go to­gether like but­ter and pop­corn. But your choice of hearths will de­pend on which fu­els are ac­ces­si­ble — and per­mit­ted by lo­cal build­ing codes — in your area. There are eight ba­sic fu­els to choose from: wood, nat­u­ral gas, propane, coal, oil, elec­tric­ity, corn and wood pel­lets. You can burn th­ese fu­els in fire­places, stoves, ma­sonry heaters or in­serts.

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